Drive theory

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In Freud’s theory of mind, a drive in a broad sense is the force of psychological motivation. In a narrow sense, it is the force of an active innate mental need. An innate mental need is made active by an impulse of an innate need of the body, and its drive forces the mind to do work to the end of satisfying the mental need. The drive does so increasingly until physical action is taken that has the effect of doing away with the somatic impulse, thereby satisfying the innate mental need. In Freud’s theory there are a multiplicity of drives, and part of the work of psychoanalysis is to identify and understand the most fundamental ones – sexual, self-survival, life, and death. All drives have a source, aim, object, and exert pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of personality and individual differences
EditorsVirgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9783319246123, 9783319280998
ISBN (Print)9783319246109
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameSpringer reference live


Cite this

Brown, B. (2017). Drive theory. In V. Zeigler-Hill, & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of personality and individual differences (Springer reference live). Cham, Switzerland: Springer, Springer Nature.